Dear Aunty Lisa
I’ve always been close to my older sister but we’ve fallen out over how we bring up our children.
I’m 31 and she’s 33 and a few years ago we both got pregnant with little girls who are now four.
I then had another girl two years ago, and my sister had a boy.
The four cousins play together a lot, but we have different parenting styles. My husband and I are very laid-back and our house is always messy, noisy and full of people.
My sister’s house on the other hand is immaculate, and she’s all about keeping the kids to a routine and making sure they only eat healthy foods.
I’ve always felt that my sister and her husband judge our parenting a little bit, and things came to a head on a recent family holiday.
At dinnertime, we’d order our kids things like pizza and chips and if they left half of it and wanted to go and play we’d let them.
We don’t mind that sort of thing, especially as they’re so little and we’re on holiday.
But my sister and her husband would insist their kids ate all their food and then give each other a look when we let our kids get down from the table.
There were other things too and eventually I asked my brother-in-law if he had a problem. He said we let our kids get away with too much which is why they’re so naughty.
My husband went mad and things were said, and now I’m not speaking to my sister.
It’s been three weeks now and I’m devastated, as are my parents who are desperate for us to make up. But I can’t forgive the things her husband said about my kids.
Aunty Lisa says
It’s very difficult. When you become a mum, nobody can say anything negative about your kids without the lioness in you coming out.
Maybe what you need to do is suggest meeting up with your sister, just the two of you.
Tell her that you miss her and want to get back on track.
However, you should also say that while you’re never going to agree on how you bring your kids up, you accept the way she’s bringing hers up and she must do the same for you.
Her husband wasn’t right to say those things and I’m sure – deep down – she knows that. They’re your kids and only you get to decide how to raise them.
And in future, don’t go on holiday together as it can bring out the worst in people and really highlight any differences.
If it makes you feel any better, I used to give the kids pizza and chips and then off they’d go to have fun. So don’t let her make you feel inadequate.